This exciting German pianist continues his well-received traversal of the epitome of German Romantic music with a generously filled 2CD recital of some of Schumann’s most testing and poetic works. The Symphonic Studies fulfil their title in exploring advanced composition, bravura piano technique, unspecified scene painting and ‘character’ depiction, making a thrilling journey from ‘pathétique’ to ‘symphonic’ towards the unstoppable momentum of the extended finale.
The ABEGG Variations, by contrast, show a fleeting, evanescent poetry that is nonetheless entirely characteristic of their author and makes them one of the more impressive Op.1 compositions in the history of music. They were not, of course, Schumann’s first work, but the first he would allow to be published: he wrote to his mother that ‘’I shall shortly be the father of a fine healthy child, at whose christening I should like to assist […] It will make its appearance at Messrs Probst’s [of Leipzig], and heaven grant that you may understand it, with its first tones of youth and vivid
life.’Youth and vivid life: these are the hallmarks of many works on this thrilling collection.